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We Cut the Calories in Your 5 Favorite Cocktails

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When you're out to dinner, you probably make special requests to slim down your meal: sauce on the side, no butter, hold the salt. You can also to the same for your favorite cocktails!

When we sidle on up to the bar or pour a drink at home, we can treat ourselves without bankrupting our calorie bank for the day. Many cocktails served in bars and especially in restaurants are super sized, loaded with caloric garnishes and overpriced. Find out how you can slim down five of the most popular--and caloric--cocktails out there. (Some of these requests and recipes are more suited for home, but you can always ask the bartender to specially make your drink.)

Mudslides are like grown-up chocolate milkshakes. Made with coffee-flavored liqueur, vodka, cream or ice cream and chocolate sauce, the sugar and the alcohol will both have you buzzing. Top your drink with whipped cream and more chocolate and you've got a drinkable dessert.

The bottled versions have 500 calories and 12 g fat in six ounces, and at a restaurant mudslides can have 750 calories and 32 g fat, 20 of them saturated. That's more calories and saturated fat than a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese! Yowza!

Madeover Mudslide
Our version is more grown-up chocolate milk than milkshake. Skip the cream, the whipped cream and the supersize glass, and you'll have a mudslide with less than a quarter of the calories and almost no fat!
Blend 1 oz each of coffee liqueur and vodka and 1/2 c lowfat chocolate milk with six ice cubes. Serve with a straw to savor the flavor. (TIP: At a bar, ask for coffee liqueur, chocolate vodka and regular lowfat milk.)

200 calories
1.5 g fat

Top with 2 T fat-free whipped topping (another 15 calories).

Pina colada
"If you like pina coladas"… you're not alone. These tropical cocktails are the perfect mix of creamy coconut and sweet pineapple, along with enough rum to let you forget how many calories you're consuming. While not quite as bad as a mudslide, the pina colada is a heavyweight at 700 calories and 16 g fat for 12 ounces. That's the equivalent of seven coconut macaroon cookies!

Nada Colada
You get the flavor of pineapple and coconut in our version, without the calories. Yes, the "creaminess" is missing, but so are most of the calories.
Mix 1 oz coconut rum with 4 oz pineapple juice, then top with a splash of club soda. Serve over ice. It's so light and good you'll be dancing in the rain in no time!

140 calories
0 g fat

Strawberry daiquiri
Strawberry daiquiris are the berry tasty compadre of the pina colada. While at 350 calories and no fat, they look relatively slim next to their coco-nutty brethren, they are still pretty hefty. Commercial versions of daiquiri mix contain very little fruit but are heavy on corn syrup and other sweeteners.

Strawberry daiquiri done right!
Skip the mix and grab the berries. A cup of strawberries pureed in a blender with 1 oz light rum and a handful of ice cubes will yield a light and fruity cocktail. If your berries aren't in season, you might need to add a bit of sugar or simple syrup to your drink, but during summer when strawberries are ripe and plentiful, the berries will shine on their own.

135 calories
0 g fat

Margaritas are traditionally made with tequila, a splash of orange liqueur, and a squeeze of lemon or lime, nothing more. They're served over ice with salt on the rim. The frozen versions at Mexican restaurants that come in glasses so big they could be used as birdbaths, often have an icy base that's presweetened, adding even more calories. They can weigh in at 470 calories each! Get it on the rocks to immediately cut the calories almost in half.

Mini Margaritas
Squeeze a couple of lime and orange wedges into a glass. Add 1 oz of tequila and a splash of sweet and sour mix (optional). Either blend with ice cubes or serve on the rocks.

80 calories
0 g fat

The ladies on "Sex and the City" popularized this cranberry-flavored cocktail. Shaken and served in a martini glass with vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice and lime, these can have 220 calories each. Not as bad as some of the frozen concoctions, but cosmos are strong--and we can slim them down!

Cosmo Lite
Squeeze a wedge each of lime and orange into 1 oz of cranberry flavored vodka. Top with club soda and serve on the rocks.

75 calories
0 g fat

Or sip on 4 oz of cranberry juice and 1 oz vodka, a splash of OJ and a squeeze of lime topped with club soda for a cocktail that would bring a smile to the faces of Carrie, Miranda and all their friends.

140 calories
0 g fat

Easiest Low-Cal Cocktail
And the easiest way to slim down your cocktail order? Ask for a flavored vodka or rum with club soda and a twist of lime on the rocks.

75 calories
0 g fat

Remember that alcohol holds a tenuous position in a healthy diet. Women should have no more than one a day and men no more than two. At 7 calories a gram, it contains no nutritional value and adds only empty calories. And the jury is still out on whether drinking in moderation is actually good for us.

Still, a cocktail or glass of beer or wine is a treat that many of us enjoy on occasion. Plenty of things in life aren't good for us, but we do them anyway, right?

Oh, and while we might be tempted to ask for diet soda in our Cuba Libre or Long Island Iced Tea, don't. Artificial sweeteners can speed up inebriation, according to experts. Energy drinks are also an off-limits mixer.

I'm more of a wine and beer fan, but I have been known to order a cherry vodka and soda. For an extra treat, I ask for a lime and a cherry in it! Yum!

Do you imbibe from time to time? What is your favorite cocktail? Do you ever make special requests to slim it down?

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Perfect timing on this article! I'm going out tonight for the first time in a long time and I wanted to enjoy being out with my friends without destroying my calorie count for the day. Thanks! I love flavored vodkas, so I'm totally going to try the blueberry vodka with club soda and lime- cheers! Report
I love these! They sound amazing! I like most of the originals, and I look forward to trying the new low cal versions! Report
I'm not a big drinker but these would be very helpful to my friends. Thanks for the drink makeovers. Report
My favorite diet cocktail is a Bloody Mary. At least with that I get to count a serving of vegetables, and it's more filling than some of the higher calorie cocktails. Add some celery, a couple olives, and some marinated vegetables and you have a whole salad!

I try to stay away from alcohol when I'm dieting, though. I seem to eat more when I drink. Report
I love my red wine with dinner. I used to be a beer & white wine drinker, but since doing the research & finding out the health benefits to red wine, I started drinking mainly, that. I have seen actual scientific studies that show that alcohol opens the arteries to the heart, as does grape juice, but to a greater extent. The problem with alcohol comes when people over consume. But, as with anything, moderation is the key. Report
Good thing I like my Margarita's on the Rock!! I can cut 1/2 the calories :) Report
I really don't drink much anymore. When I do it's usually Diet Coke or Diet Dr Pepper and Irish Whiskey when out. But if I'm at home I most likely to have a hard apple cider or hard pear cider. Those are my absolute favorites for commercially brewed alcoholic beverages. Report
I'd really like to learn more about how to drink and not use up all my calories-- I used to enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner and kinda miss it-- but do not miss feeling bloated Report
great cocktail makeovers! always on the lookout for us. Really appreciate it! Report
Lots of good ideas & they all sound refreshing! Thanks! Report
While my favorite cocktail is Margarita on the rocks, I pretty much have cut alcohol out of my diet. As I have gotten older, I have noticed I don't like the way alcohol makes me feel even after just one drink. I think my body is saying don't drink this stuff. Report
I will have a glass of wine occasionally (120 cal) or when I want a beer I've found that Budweiser Select (100 cal) has much more taste than the ones with only 67 cal. I'd given up mixed drinks because they had too many calories but I'm glad to know I can slim them down and still enjoy one once in a while. :) Report
Never had a Mudslide, and I don't drink, but a chocolate milkshake souds AWESOME right now!! LOL Report
My usual is vodka with soda water and a wedge of lime. Really refreshing, tastes like mineral water and makes sure you're getting some hydration with your alcohol! Report
what a wonderful alternative to some of my favorite cocktails. Now the guilt will be gone as I try these recipes. Thank you so much Report
To avoid the unwanted calories, I was avoiding going out. In the process, I was missing alot of fun and becoming a social outcast. But this article has provided me alot of insight on high to trim the calories off some of my favorite drinks. Now maybe I can join my friends on a Friday night and burn some additional calories on the dance floor. Report
Oh! I can still have my margaritas from time to time! Thanks for this! Report
I LOVE the idea of just asking for some flavored rum or vodka on the rocks w/club soda! It's usually the flavored liquors that get my attention on the drink menu, anyway! Report
Good ideas - can't wait to try some - Thanks!! Report
I also like tomato juice with lemon vodka and twist of lemon! Report
great reading Report
Try orange vodka and club soda with a slice of orange. It's especially refreshing in the summer! Report
I'm not much of a drinker...but these lighter alternatives sound positively delicious... :o)
Where's the waiter? Report
Vanilla vodka and diet root bear... Tastes sort of like a light root beer float... I might have to reconsider the diet after reading this though... Report
Thanks for the tips! I'm a rare drinker if ever however I am a fan of the mudslide and its nice to have a alternative on those because wow are they un-healthy. Report
Thanks for the recipes, I would also like to request a lower cal version of the Long Island Iced Tea. My favorite (occassionally of course) Report
Thanks for these options! What can you do for Long Island Ice Tea? Report
I'm glad to see Sparkpeople is providing info on healthy alcohol consumption. Report
I like a rum punch occassionaly. In a tall glass, add one jigger of rum, 6 oz. sugar free lemonade (like Crystal Lite), and 3-4 oz. of orange juice. Add ice & enjoy. Report
Most often I opt for sharing dessert instead of having a drink, LOL.

However, when I do drink, it's either a glass of white wine, a kir, champagne, or a kir royale (my absolute fave). None of these are high cal, and there really isn't a way to lighten them. (And since most places only serve about 6 oz, I figure 120 calories isn't too terrible.)

My new fave is a mojito - which apparently is not too bad, but I probably should carry splenda so the bartender could make it lighter for me.
People I know who are drinking, couldn't care less at the time about the number of calories they are taking in. LOL Report
My husband is the designated driver, thanks. I'm going to try some of these ideas next time I go out. Report
This is a very helpful & interesting blog! Thanks So Much for posting it! I now want to try a Cosmopolitan! But all 5 lighter versions sound terrific! :) Report
Very interesting blog. Thanks Stephanie Report
Margarita's are my favorite but seeing the others I would love to sample the LITE version of all
of them!!!!!

This is awesome to be able to make a favorite
lite in calories ....... is there a printer friendly version of this anywhere???
I would love to print this out !!!!
My favorite alcohol a mild whiskey is served with water so have just the calories of the alcohol does take some getting used too but worth not having the sugar and extra calories Report
Why do you have to have a cocktail at all? Aside from the damage to your diet - and your brain - you need to have a designated driver in the group. Choose that and have a alcohol-free drink. Save the calories for the dinner! If you're drinking at home or some other 'safe' place, ask yourself first, 'why do I need to have this drink?' If you can't come up with anything besides 'because everyone else is drinking,' skip the alcohol. Report
Alcohol interferes with my hypertention meds, so I RARELY imbibe, and don't miss it! Life's more fun when viewed through clear eyes! Report
Diet pepsi (or diet coke) with spiced rum and severals pieces of lime. Less than 100 calories but the spiced rum and lime make it seem special. Don't feel like I am missing anything! Report
Manhattan is my favorite. Not sure how to slim then down though! Report
My favorite margarita is tequila and crystal light lemonade with a splash of lime. Report
Great article. I've always enjoyed Brandy Old Fashion Press Now I ask for Crown light brandy and fake surgar, Don't know the total calorie cound but it has to be better than the original Report
Thanks for a great article! Now I know what I can do with the bottle of coconut rum that's been sitting unopened on the shelf for years! What's MGD64? I have Beck's Ultra Light at 67 calories, but did I miss another low cal beer? I don't drink alcoholic beverages often, and now I'll be smarter in my choices. Report
I would like to suggest MGD 64 to the beer lovers out there! Report
Thanks for the article! It's good to know there are options when I want a drink once in a while. I am also happy to know that I have been having Margaritas the right way! Don't drink often but when I do it's good to have more low cal ideas. Report
These are gr8 Stepfanie! ESPECIALLY *slurp* the Mudslide! mmm... reminds me of my favorite Black Russian-
1 3/4 oz vodka
3/4 oz coffee liqueur (or, plain espresso)
3/4 oz chocolate Kahlua (made with or with out the extra vodka, hahaha!!)
I'll have to give em' a try!! :)

ooh!! Just remembered (this Edit Comment is AWESOME, btw) but if you come up with a healthy version of a White Russian (interchangeable in my most fav drinks, hehe!!) PLEASE SHARE!! :)

I enjoy a glass of dry red or white wine with my Saturday nite dinner or 1 oz of vodka in 1 oz of ginger ale with a twist of lime. Report
Crown royal and canada dry for me... i drink so little that I'm not really concerned with calories, moderation is key for me. Report
Love this article. I am not a big drinker but do have a tot once in a while. My old standby is White wine spritzers. I use white wine with ice and lots of soda water. A bit of lime or sometimes a bit of cranberry juice and its good to go. Really cuts the effects of the alcohol. Report
Nice to know how to cut the empties. I usually stick to either water as a mix or serve it up straight on the rocks, which my tush has not benefited from, so now I try to stick with light beer or a glass of wine. But I'm heading out on vacation tomorrow and so it is nice to have some alternatives Report
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